Section: Application Domains

Motion Sensing

Recording human activity is a key point of many applications and fundamental works. Numerous sensors and systems have been proposed to measure positions, angles or accelerations of the user’s body parts. Whatever the system is, one of the main problem is to be able to automatically recognize and analyze the user’s performance according to poor and noisy signals. Human activity and motion are subject to variability: intra-variability due to space and time variations of a given motion, but also inter-variability due to different styles and anthropometric dimensions. MimeTIC has addressed the above problems in two main directions.

Firstly, we have studied how to recognize and quantify motions performed by a user when using accurate systems such as Vicon (product of Oxford Metrics) or Optitrack (product of Natural Point) motion capture systems. These systems provide large vectors of accurate information. Due to the size of the state vector (all the degrees of freedom) the challenge is to find the compact information (named features) that enables the automatic system to recognize the performance of the user. Whatever the method is used, finding these relevant features that are not sensitive to intra-individual and inter-individual variability is a challenge. Some researchers have proposed to manually edit these features (such as a Boolean value stating if the arm is moving forward or backward) so that the expertise of the designer is directly linked with the success ratio. Many proposals for generic features have been proposed, such as using Laban notation which was introduced to encode dancing motions. Other approaches tend to use machine learning to automatically extract these features. However most of the proposed approaches were used to seek a database for motions which properties correspond to the features of the user’s performance (named motion retrieval approaches). This does not ensure the retrieval of the exact performance of the user but a set of motions with similar properties.

Secondly, we wish to find alternatives to the above approach which is based on analyzing accurate and complete knowledge on joint angles and positions. Hence new sensors, such as depth-cameras (Kinect, product of Microsoft) provide us with very noisy joint information but also with the surface of the user. Classical approaches would try to fit a skeleton into the surface in order to compute joint angles which, again, lead to large state vectors. An alternative would be to extract relevant information directly from the raw data, such as the surface provided by depth cameras. The key problem is that the nature of these data may be very different from classical representation of human performance. In MimeTIC, we try to address this problem in specific application domains that require picking specific information, such as gait asymmetry or regularity for clinical analysis of human walking.